How Goldilocks can help you find that "Just Right" book

Finding books at your child's reading level can be challenging unless you know how. To introduce the first of our summmer skills reading tips (subscribe below so you don't miss them) - we will start at the beginning, finding books at the appropriate reading level with a simple method.

You may be familiar with that curious blonde-haired home intruder named Goldilocks, from the children's story "Goldilocks and the Three Little Bears". She ventured into the home of the three bears and searched out the ideal chair, best porridge meal, and bed that suited her. Each item was "Just Right," not too hard or soft, cold or hot, and so on. She was in search of what suited her personally,

Here is a method that accompanies the Goldilocks and the Three Bears analogy. Find a "Just Right" book- one personally suited to your child's reading level that can be read independently. Teachers and tutors use this method and parents can too. Depending upon their age, once you teach your child, they can apply it themselves.

Finding the Just Right Book

Open the book to any full page, anywhere in the book.
Begin to read the entire page.
Use the fingers on one hand to keep track of the reading mistakes made while reading aloud.

  • If you have more than 4- 5 mistakes on pronouncing or reading aloud words, this book is too difficult.
  • It you have none or perhaps 1 mistake with pronounciation of the words on the page, this book is too easy.
  • A "Just Right" book is one with only 2-3 errors when read aloud.

A book that is too difficult can be read at a later time, together with a parent, or listened to instead. Books that are too easy won't provide the correct amount of challenge for growth.  Try this out as you begin your summer reading programs or the next time your child chooses a book to read independently.

Another method to use for older children is the Lexile score...check back next Tuesday for that explanation.

You might also like this previous post on freebies and summer reading programs.

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    My name is Lisa Stiegman and I have been a Chicago area resident all my life. Besides being the mother of three children, I have been a writer, editor, and teacher.

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